25 June 2013

Boys Golf: Young Tigers look to future

With a lineup as green as the fairways at Fountain Valley, coach Jon Holmes knew going in the spring of 2013 would be one of transition.

Six of the seven letterwinners from the last year's fifth place finishers in the Missota Conference were lost to graduation, leaving freshman Erik Holmstrom to shoulder much of the scoring load.

Holmstrom did his part, winning all-Missota Conference honorable mention honors, and despite their youth and the lousy spring weather, the Tigers managed to finish sixth in the conference race and advance to the final round of Section 1AAA team play.

"This season was a whirlwind," Holmes said.  "It went really fast once the matches started rolling, but with the late start, we were able to concentrate on other aspects of golf that in a typical spring season we wouldn't have time for. We were able to address conditioning,  nutrition and the mental part of the game."

Erik Holmstrom-ACHM
Three seniors--Grant Hauswirth, Garret Heidelberger and Nate Anderson--were among the seven players to earn varsity letters this spring. Others included Holmstrom, sophomore Jake Trippel, freshman Jake Jensen and eighth-grader Darby Grengs.

"We moved up to fourth place in our final conference meet and it's been four straight years now that we've qualified for the second round of the sections," Holmes said, "so we had some good things happen...Our younger players got some much-needed varsity experience."

The weather may have been the biggest handicap. The late-arriving spring kept the Tigers off the course early, leaving little time for practice once the busy meet schedule kicked in.

"We also missed playing at some pretty cool courses like Hazeltine and Stone Ridge due to the weather," Holmes said.

Holmes will field another young team in 2014 but he is encouraged by his squad's summer playing plans.

"This is the first year in my experience with the boys' program where we will have kids not only playing in junior tournaments, but also getting golf lessons from a PGA professional," he said.

"We need to play often and play under pressure. We need to get into as many tournament settings as humanly possible."